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Irish Independent - 28-10-2004
Go-ahead for incinerators despite public opposition

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build two incinerators, one in Cork and the other in Meath, were yesterday given the green light by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which confirmed its plans to grant licences to both waste facilities.

The public now has 28 days to lodge objections to the decision, after which the agency will decide whether to grant a final licence or hold an oral hearing into the concerns raised.

One of the plants, at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, will be the country's first hazardous waste incinerator and will handle around 100,000 tons of commercial and domestic waste.

A second facility at Carranstown, Duleek, Co Meath, is scheduled to deal with around 150,000 tons of non-hazardous material. Both are expected to operate from 2007.

Politicians, heritage groups and residents yesterday reacted with outrage and dismay at the EPA's decision, with those opposed to both the Meath and Cork facilities insisting the battle was not yet llost.

The Green Party said the go-ahead for incineration in this country would damage Ireland's green image at home and abroad.

Indaver Ireland, the company which will operate both plants, warmly welcomed the EPA decision and said it was currently assessing the draft licences.

The company also said it believes the conditions are workable but that it would not make a final comment until the matter has been considered in more detail.

In a statement issued yesterday, the EPA sought to reassure the public by stressing that both facilities will operate under "stringent controls" which "meet or exceed" EU incineration guidelines.
The agency said it was "satisfied that operation of the facilities, in accordance with the conditions of the licence, will not endanger human health or harm the environment" either close to the incinerators or in the wider area.

The conditions imposed by the EPA include an order to shut down either facility in the event of any malfunction, limits on heavy metal and acidifying gases and a demand that any urban waste burned at the plants be restricted to materials left after all reusable and recyclable materials have been removed.
The EPA said all conditions will be checked and enforced through audits, unannounced site visits and checks on emissions.

Over the next 28 days, objections or requests for oral hearings can be lodged with the EPA before the agency's board makes a final decision.

Green Party Environment spokesman Ciaran Cuffe said the EPA decision marked the first step towards the construction of a necklace of seven incinerators around the country.


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